Malaysiakini News

Rafizi: Three cabinet appointments a done deal

Andrew Ong  |  Published:  |  Modified:

PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli has refuted speculation that his party was trying to stymie DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng's appointment as finance minister.

"The three appointments were over and done with," he told Malaysiakini.

Speculation over attempts to block Lim's appointment was fueled by a Sin Chew Daily report which claimed that Rafizi had "advised" for PKR's withdrawal from a Pakatan Harapan leadership meeting on Saturday regarding the cabinet appointments.

Rafizi had denied this and threatened to sue the daily. The daily has since removed the online version of its report.

There was a tense moment on Saturday following the meeting, which saw the announcement of Lim, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin as cabinet ministers in the absence of PKR leaders.

Rafizi immediately released a statement claiming that this announcement was done without proper consultation with PKR and that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had "bulldozed" through the appointment process.

This statement was met with heavy condemnation by netizens and Harapan supporters who demanded him to not air dirty laundry in public.

However, subsequent statements by PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali and vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar seem to indicate that disgruntlement over the appointments, if any, were contained.

Mahathir himself has not commented on this. He met PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim on Saturday evening after naming his first three cabinet members. Anwar is technically still jailed and is expected to be released tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Rafizi told Malaysiakini that his message on Saturday evening was meant to ensure that the other cabinet appointments will not be subjected to the same treatment.

"It is important to send a message," he said.

Apart from Mahathir, his deputy Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and the three other named cabinet members have not been sworn in. It is expected that the next swearing-in ceremony will be held on Wednesday.

There does not appear to be a timeframe for Mahathir to appoint seven other members of his initial 10-member cabinet.

Yesterday, Mahathir announced that he was looking at having no more than 30 cabinet members, down from 35 in the Najib-administration.

He also promised that the distribution of the cabinet positions would be equitable and proportional to the number of seats held by each party.

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